As of 1 January 2013, the Transitional Feed-in Tariff for solar panels will be closed to new customers, as will the “one-for-one” arrangements under the Standard Feed-in Tariff Scheme.
Transitional Feed-in Tariff customers who add generating capacity – that is, additional solar panels – to their solar photovoltaic (PV) system after 31 December 2012 will become ineligible to continue accessing the scheme and will forfeit their minimum feed-in rate of 25 cents. This restriction also applies to customers accessing the Premium Feed-in Tariff who will forfeit their access to the minimum rate of 60 cents if they add to their existing capacity.
This restriction includes customers who have an oversized inverter installed with their solar PV system. Installers and customers should note that existing generating capacity is based on the standard rating of the solar panels, not the inverter. An inverter does not generate electricity.
Although these restrictions have always existed, legislation will be put in place in 2013 that reinforces and clarifies these eligibility requirements.
For some customers, the benefits of upgrading systems may outweigh financial returns from the existing feed-in tariffs. Customers in this situation may wish to apply for the new Feed-in Tariff.
The new Feed-in Tariff offers eligible customers with renewable energy systems of 100 kilowatts or less a minimum credit of 8 cents per kilowatt hour for excess electricity fed back into the grid in 2013. Minimum rates for subsequent years will be updated by the Essential Services Commission on an annual basis until 2016.